35 AND TICKING

by Droopy the Broke Baller

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about

Says Druid: ʺIt's funny; my original plan was to make one album. 'Twas to be an ambitious aural adventure starring our hero the Broke Baller; a fighter (of fear, complacency, misunderstanding, haters, etc.) and a lover (of art, laughter, women, etc.). The first few songs were to be irreverently fun exhibitions of my love for rocking mics and crafting myriad mazes of lyrical Legos. Then, since 'after the show is the after party,' the next few were to be about going out and wilding. At the party, of course I would meet a woman, so the next few would be about courtship, dating, love and relationships. Then I would get involved with a psychotic-assed chick who would, among other things, stalk me, harass me, 'Catfish' me, defraud me in a supposed business arrangement, and lie about being pregnant. Quite naturally, I would lose 'the love of my life' in the process, so the last few songs would be about reflecting on everything that happened and what I learned from it.

But see the thing is, I'm a writer. So I write. A lot.

So the irreverently fun 'rock the mic' songs became my October 2012 album 'No Hair, Don't Care'. The 'party and bullshit' songs will likely live on a debaucherous disc called 'Do Not Fall In Love With This Man'. The love songs became the upcoming '#ThisIsThePart'; a multimedia movement which I honestly feel represents my best work up to this point. The songs about 'chica loca' became December 2012's 'My Beautifully Fraudulent Bitch Named Natalie'. And the songs reflecting on my life and purpose became this album: December 2013's '35 & Ticking'.

The title was due in part to the fact that the album was released the year I turned 35. But it was also playing off the title of the movie of the same name, which me and my ex-ladyfriend Jarin (rest in peace) had bought for a dollar off a bootleg dude outside the liquor store on a late night run for wine and snacks. Before dating Jarin, I had just looked at Kevin Hart as old dude from that god-awful 'Soul Plane' flick. She had put me on to his stand-up, and as fans we both somehow thought he could single-handly save this film.

Turns out he couldn't. It was actually one of the worst movies I've ever seen, possibly second only to ʺDa Last Donʺ, starring one Master P. But the title was still timely and catchy, so I stuck with it for my album.

The title track was born in the waters of the Dominican Republic in March of 2013, just days before I actually turned 35. I was down there with the fellas for our annual Pisces bash, the 'Fish Out Of Water' trek. We had been bumping the G.O.O.D. Music compilation 'Cruel Summer' in the van on the way to the beach, and the haunting 'Morning' seduced and circumnavigated my psyche as I stood alone in the middle of the vast liquid glass and rendered the blue-hued cauldron my own 'reflecting pool'. I thought about my life, about where I'd been, where I was, and where I wanted to go, and this came out:

It be the 35 and ticking, no Kevin Hart joke

But 'all right, all right, all right', you gon learn 'bout The Broke

My first 17 I spent learning how to 'know'

My second 17? Unlearning as I go

The Bible treats 7 like forever therefore

Five 7's is a handful of forevermore

And birthdays are for reflection

So sistren and brethren, humor me as I reflect on my lessons

I've been trending topic hashtagged, betrayed and backstabbed

Beloved and lambasted with flags at half-mast

Handed chances to blow and blown them from my own hand

Stepped on like toejam and slept on by my own ass

Trash-talking bald black dude; Charles Barkley

Women who wanted me didn't get me 'til they lost me

I've dedicated albums to haters and foes

And not one to what God said was greater than those

But even with all of my foibles and flaws and shortcomings

I birth my own reality; wouldn't abort nothing

And if seven is forever, when my legend is told

I'll bet you treasures untold I'll be avenged sevenfold . . '

Yeah. Pretty much. A sober spiritual self-appraisal of a man who, by today's standards, might be considered 'middle-aged' (or hell, just plain 'old', depending who you ask). Heart on my sleeve, hard on myself, yet hardly hopeless, the song was equal parts report card and mission statement. Some old first-day-of-the-rest-of-your-life type ish. The perfect way to start an album like this.

When I got back to the States, I laid down my verse in the studio on my birthday, fittingly enough. Then my dear friend from Flint, educator, womanist, writer and microphone wrecker Natasha Thomas-Jackson (Ms. Jackson if you're nasty, but I still call her 'Theory') came through and put the cherry on top in our first (and hopefully not final) collaboration. And I spent the next few months toiling away (while still a beleaguered middle school science teacher), aiming to have the album (or at least the video for my new hit spoof 'Please Don't Steal My Ride') completed in time for my month-long multi-state tour come July. It didn't happen that way, and as with many of my plans that didn't pan out as planned, I beat myself up about it a bit.

However, as is also true for many of my plans that didn't pan out as planned, not finishing the album in time for the tour ended up being a blessing in disguise. Because some of the best songs on this album ended up being songs that I wrote or conceived while I was on that tour.

The first two verses of 'Swangin' (Broke Baller Entertainment)' were written on a Greyhound bus from New Orleans to Tallahassee as I reflected on how grateful I was to be surrounded by such good, gifted people who support and believe in me. (Here's looking at you, Tarica and Dwayne.) The last verse was written, as the song sayeth, on Keith Rodgers' couch in Tallahassee, as I gleaned wisdom from the respected founder of Black On Black Rhyme and thought about what it meant to leave an artistic legacy. 'Legacy' loomed and lurked longer as I paced the track of a nearby school and stewed over my frustrations with the recent musical releases of my 'idols' Jay-Z and Kanye, thus sparking 'Let Drew Down', my impassioned response to 'Let Nas Down' by J. Cole. And being in Florida as the Zimmerman verdict was rendered and experiencing the muddled energies of my beautiful, enraged, saddened black folk fueled me to write 'Think Paint' when I got to Charlotte.

I'm pretty sure I was back in DC when I penned 'GQ', this album's 'shmokin' song' and my favorite as far as 'repeat bumpability'. I know it was in the fall of one of my hardest (and what would be my last) years of teaching when I wrote 'Broken Letter' while watching my students on the playground at recess; the boys as focused on auditioning for the World Cup as the girls were entangled in their intricate web of cyber bullying. And the last (and, in my opinion, the most creative) song that I wrote/recorded for the album was the 2 Chainz-spoofing ʺI Love Them Griffins/Simpsons/Freemansʺ, my ode to the asinine animated antics that have held a mirror to America as few live-action television shows have. (Awthentik, my engineer at Listen Vision Studios and a dope emcee in his own right, actually thanked me for the challenge of piecing together the music on that track, since he is so often beset by wannabe trap lords seeking out the next sing-songy nigga nursery anthem.)

But for me, the spiritual centerpiece of this album is ʺWavesʺ. I don't think I've ever made a song that was a better representation of who I am as an artist and how and why I do what I do. As the song itself alludes, I actually wrote it in my hotel room in the French Quarter at the top of my tour, with Trayvon Martin's family on the television screen as a classic New Orleanian downpour spoke to the mood of the moment. I wrote about how my show would turn out even though I was on my way to said show, and sure enough, it turned out just like that. Making that song turned me on to the music of Left Coast mood maestro Freddie Joachim, whose bastard-baby-of-Dilla-and-Pete-Rock soundscapes I plan to do quite a bit more with. But more than anything, it is a homecoming anthem: a spirit-spilling mantra of resilience and expression cooked up by a self-determined chef who wants nothing more than for the world to sip on the gumbo of his soul, yet knows that some victory lives in simply preparing a diverse, delectable dish no matter who does or doesn't deign to dine.

Before '35 & Ticking', my last album was 'My Beautifully Fraudulent Bitch Named Natalie'. And as much as I loved (and indeed still see the need for) that quintessential collision course of the caustic and the cathartic, I realized after completing it that had I died before making another album, my last recorded testament to the world would have been dedicated to my arch-nemesis. How much more appropriate to leave the world with an exploration of just what makes me, well...'tick'?

For, as the title track sayeth:

"Even with all of my foibles and flaws and shortcomings

I birth my own reality; wouldn't abort nothing

No Kobain; rather go out Carlito's Way

Cause you can't spell 'broke' without the 'OK!'

Foibles and flaws and shortcomings

I birth my own reality; wouldn't abort nothing

And if seven is forever, when my legend is told

I'll bet seven more forevers I'm avenged sevenfold . . '"

credits

released December 15, 2013

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about

Droopy the Broke Baller Washington, D.C.

New Orleans bred (and now DC-based) hip hop artist, slam poet, producer, screenwriter, host, and veteran middle & high school teacher, Drew Anderson has continued to innovatively utilize his talent for connecting with audiences big and small via the avenues of art and education. His explosive performance style and knack for satire have brought him to stages around the globe. ... more

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